Cultural Appropriation

The place for measured discourse about politics and current events, including developments in science and medicine.
Post Reply
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 9617
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Alatar »

Frelga wrote:Who do you hear it from?

If you mean me, just general internet chatter.
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 18736
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Frelga »

Alatar wrote:
Frelga wrote:Who do you hear it from?

If you mean me, just general internet chatter.
Yes, didn't manage to x-post this time.

Is it chatter from people who are upset, or people making fun of people for being upset?
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
User avatar
Sunsilver
Posts: 7063
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:41 am
Location: In my rose garden
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Sunsilver »

Alatar wrote:Well, I understand the perspective of Native Americans objecting to Tribal headgear, but nobody has ever properly explained to me why wearing dreads is offensive. Its not like they are a religious artifact.
Acutally, they do have religious/spiritual significance in some cultures. Rastafarian, for example...
Locks have been worn for various reasons in each culture: as an expression of deep religious or spiritual convictions, ethnic pride, as a political statement and in more modern times, as a representation of a free, alternative or natural spirit.[21]
Rastafari movement locks are symbolic of the Lion of Judah which is sometimes centered on the Ethiopian flag. Rastafari hold that Haile Selassie is a direct descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, through their son Menelik I. Their dreadlocks were inspired by the Nazarites of the Bible.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreadlocks
When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.
User avatar
yovargas
I miss Prim ...
Posts: 15011
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:13 am
Location: Florida

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by yovargas »

Frelga wrote:
Alatar wrote:
Frelga wrote:Who do you hear it from?
If you mean me, just general internet chatter.
Yes, didn't manage to x-post this time.

Is it chatter from people who are upset, or people making fun of people for being upset?
I've also definitely seen people being genuinely upset by dreads in "general internet chatter". I also totally don't get it.
I wanna love somebody but I don't know how
I wanna throw my body in the river and drown
-The Decemberists


Image
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 18736
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Frelga »

yovargas wrote:
Frelga wrote:
Alatar wrote: If you mean me, just general internet chatter.
Yes, didn't manage to x-post this time.

Is it chatter from people who are upset, or people making fun of people for being upset?
I've also definitely seen people being genuinely upset by dreads in "general internet chatter". I also totally don't get it.
Did they say why they were upset?
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 9617
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Alatar »

Pretty much just "You're not Black, you don't get to wear dreads"...
Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
Alatar
of Vinyamar
Posts: 9617
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:39 pm
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Alatar »

This was the original video that brought it to my attention:

Image
The Vinyamars on Stage! This time at Bag End
User avatar
Túrin Turambar
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Túrin Turambar »

The term ‘cultural appropriation’ means all things to all people, making this discussion difficult. I remember a recent case where an article in a Canadian writers’ journal encouraged cultural appropriation, meaning “anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities” and there should be an appropriation prize in literature. This caused a huge backlash, and the journal has since apologised.

link

To me, writing a book from the perspective of a character in a different time and place is not cultural appropriation. Besides, if this wasn’t possible, then every single writer would be limited to writing their own autobiography or a fictionalised version of it.

If I had to define it, I would say ‘appropriation’ implies taking something from someone else. Someone who writes a book about an indigenous Canadian isn’t really taking something from indigenous Canadians. Nor is someone who plays African drums or wears dreadlocks (to their respective cultures, not indigenous Canadians). Someone who produces indigenous Canadian art in competition with indigenous Canadian artists, I suppose, is. Likewise, someone who uses a religious ceremony as commercial entertainment.

This entire topic is fraught, and reactions seem to vary wildly. I can’t imagine being offended by anyone taking on any aspect of my Anglo-Australian culture – if a non-Australian started wearing an Akubra hat, following an AFL team and singing nineteenth-century Australian folk ballads, for example. I am a bit of a shameless cultural appropriator of things I like in other cultures, and most of those have a similar reaction. I like Latin American music and dance, and without exception, every Latin American I’ve ever met has loved to share them with non-Latinos. Their popularity has allowed Latin Americans to travel the world playing music and teaching dance.

The New Zealand Maori, I think, have handled the issue really well. While the haka war dance is of cultural importance to them, they’ve recognised that it’s a Maori icon and developed hakas for non-Maori to use in various situations.
User avatar
Cenedril_Gildinaur
Posts: 1076
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:01 pm

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

This just in, the 6,000 year old Chinese civilization was unexpectedly wiped off the map because John Smith, an American of European heritage, made his own Chinese food from a recipe, and then modified it in non-traditional ways.

Cultural appropriation is a non-issue. If those complaining about it don't like it, they can complain using traditional methods.
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
-- Samuel Adams
User avatar
River
bioalchemist
Posts: 12640
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:08 am
Location: the dry land

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by River »

My understanding of cultural appropriation is it's what happens when someone just yanks something, like an article of clothing, from a particular culture without any understanding or appreciation for the context and thus turns it into something else. I.e., put the headdress of a Sioux war chief on a model otherwise decked out in Givenchy for a magazine spread celebrating Columbus Day (this is a hypothetical). Or when a local biotech company took on the motto "Join the genomic revolution" and tossed some random Cyrillic letters in because they looked cool (unless you recognized the letters; then it just looked dumb). Probably one of the nastiest examples of cultural appropriation is that one time a now-extinct German political party takes a sacred Hindu symbol as its sigil and now Westerners associate that symbol with the deaths of six million or more Jews.

I really wish Wilma were posting around here. She's posted some good stuff about this on Facebook.
When you can do nothing what can you do?
User avatar
Sunsilver
Posts: 7063
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:41 am
Location: In my rose garden
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Sunsilver »

The New Zealand Maori, I think, have handled the issue really well. While the haka war dance is of cultural importance to them, they’ve recognized that it’s a Maori icon and developed hakas for non-Maori to use in various situations.
Now to me, that seems lie a sensible way to handle it!

Seen on FB today: a mother not wanting her daughter to wear a Moana costume for Halloween, because she felt it was cultural appropriation.

http://thestir.cafemom.com/parenting_ne ... _Halloween

Hmm...anyone think this is carrying political correctness a bit too far? It's a Disney cartoon, for pete's sake!


River, has Wilma ever been given any flak for wearing kimonos? I would be interested in hearing her views, too.
When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose.
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Primula Baggins »

I would think she'd get little flak—she wears them very correctly and respectfully.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
River
bioalchemist
Posts: 12640
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:08 am
Location: the dry land

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by River »

I've seen her get engaged in that sort of discussion. In fact, her posts have been instrumental in shaping my views on the topic. But I am reluctant to speak for her.
When you can do nothing what can you do?
User avatar
Lalaith
Lali Beag Bídeach
Posts: 14814
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 5:42 pm
Location: Rivendell

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Lalaith »

I guess, for me, it's only a big deal if it's done disrespectfully or it's done in such a way that other people are profiting from it. A good example might be my hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians with our Chief Wahoo. Ehhhh, I mean, when I was growing up I didn't think anything of it, but I can definitely see how it is offensive to many Native Americans. (And, even though I have Native American blood, I don't really consider myself Native American, fwiw.) I think it'd be good for them to change the team name, but I don't know if that will ever happen. I know Katie's college, Miami, changed from the Redskins to the Redhawks, and they did that probably 15-20 years ago.

Katie dressed up in a Nez Perce jingle dress (a zillion jingle bells that I sewed on by hand!!!) one year for Halloween. She was into the American Girl dolls and books at the time and really liked Kaya. Was that cultural appropriation? I think not. She admired their culture and thought it was cool that they still dance in jingle dresses to this day. We read books, we watched videos, etc. It was an exploration of a different culture that sparked her imagination. I think that's rather neat, honestly.

I don't get the big deal over dreads, though. ??

<shrug> I think some people just like getting worked up over things.
Image
User avatar
Primula Baggins
Living in hope
Posts: 40005
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:43 am
Location: Sailing the luminiferous aether
Contact:

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Primula Baggins »

The writer Anne Lamott has worn dreads for years (she’s white). She wrote that she had terrible, unruly curly hair that took way too much time and energy until she discovered that it went naturally into dreadlocks. She never looked back. In her case I don’t think it was cultural appropriation so much as borrowing an answer to a persistent problem from another ethnic group.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
User avatar
Impenitent
Throw me a rope.
Posts: 6855
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:13 am
Location: Deep in Oz

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Impenitent »

As I understand, it cultural appropriation has to do with adopting from a minority group without context or understanding, for its 'exotic' characteristics.

In other words, treating a culture like a decorative item or a fashion trend.

Sent from my SM-N920I using Tapatalk
Mornings wouldn't suck so badly if they came later in the day.
User avatar
River
bioalchemist
Posts: 12640
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:08 am
Location: the dry land

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by River »

Impenitent wrote:As I understand, it cultural appropriation has to do with adopting from a minority group without context or understanding, for its 'exotic' characteristics.

In other words, treating a culture like a decorative item or a fashion trend.

Sent from my SM-N920I using Tapatalk
Yes. That's what I was trying to get at but you put it more clearly. I'd also add that in a case of cultural appropriation the adoption isn't consensual. When you're enjoying a cultural item that has been willingly shared, like a dance or drumming class or whatever's on the menu at a local ethnic restaurant, it's not cultural appropriation.
When you can do nothing what can you do?
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 14968
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Inanna »

My opinion about cultural appropriation can be summed up in the following hypothetical:

Imagine people talking about the holocaust. You have a Jewish survivor- he/she is describing the horror. And a Hindu pipes in & says “And we can’t use the Swastika anymore without being misunderstood”.


True but... seriously???
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
User avatar
Frelga
Meanwhile...
Posts: 18736
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Home, where else

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Frelga »

Well, as a Jewish person, I would be sympathetic, as long as the complaint is aimed at the Nazis who appropriated the Hindu symbol.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
User avatar
Inanna
Meetu's little sister
Posts: 14968
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:03 pm

Re: Cultural Appropriation

Post by Inanna »

It’s not about the personal feelings, as much (I used the Jewish & Hindu examples just to make sure the sources match). But if the media discourse & public discourse about the holocaust becomes about the appropriation of the symbol - MY reaction would be WTF?

That’s how I feel about a lot of this stuff - can we stop harping on who should be wearing dregs or not. There are black kids not able to go to school. It’s a notion of priorities & expending your resources, conversation time & energy on the priorities or not.
'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude
Post Reply